Category: <span>Europe</span>

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Dutch Launch Case Against Syria Over ‘Horrific’ Torture

The Netherlands launched a bid Friday to hold Syria responsible under international law for “gross human rights violations”, in a case that could end up in the U.N.’s top court.

The Dutch government said it was invoking the UN Convention against Torture and that Damascus was also guilty of murder and using poison gas on its own citizens.

“The Assad regime has committed horrific crimes time after time. The evidence is overwhelming. There must be consequences,” Foreign Minister Stef Blok said in a statement.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it was an “important signal to the other dictators of this world.”

“We have indications that we might have the support of other countries” in pursuing the case, Rutte told a press conference.

The Dutch said they decided to take action after an attempt to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court — following years of impunity — was vetoed in the UN Security Council.

“The Assad regime has not hesitated to crack down hard..

EU Unveils Plan to Combat Racism, Increase Diversity
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EU Unveils Plan to Combat Racism, Increase Diversity

BRUSSELS – The European Commission presented a series of measures Friday aimed at tackling structural racism and discrimination, acknowledging a blatant lack of diversity among the European Union’s institutions.

The bloc’s executive arm set out its action plan for the next five years, which includes strengthening the current legal framework, recruiting an anti-racism coordinator and increasing the diversity of EU staff.

The European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, said that recent anti-racism protests in the U.S. and Europe highlighted the need for action.

“We have reached a moment of reckoning. The protests sent a clear message, change must happen now,” Jourová said. “It won’t be easy, but it must be done.

“We won’t shy away from strengthening the legislation, if needed,” she said. “The commission itself will adapt its recruiting policy to better reflect European society.”

The current College of Commissioners, which oversees EU policies, is ..

England sets £10,000 fine for breaking Covid-19 self-isolation rules
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England sets £10,000 fine for breaking Covid-19 self-isolation rules

Issued on: 20/09/2020 – 07:24

People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to 10,000 pounds ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday.

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The rules will apply from September 28 to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.

"People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines," Johnson said in a statement.

Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.

Let me get this right. The party that refused to punish Dominic Cummings for breaking the Covid lockdown rules now proposes to fine ordinary folk £10,000 if they do the same as he did? pic.twitter.com/zH3syT0nN1

— John OBrennan (@..

We have space: thousands march in Germany urging EU to take in more migrants
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We have space: thousands march in Germany urging EU to take in more migrants

Issued on: 20/09/2020 – 18:20

Thousands of people demonstrated Sunday in Berlin and other German cities, urging the European Union to take in migrants left without shelter after a fire destroyed their biggest camp in Greece. The EU is set to unveil proposals this week on how to help the 12,000 people left without shelter.

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The mask-clad protesters, in line with coronavirus regulations and armed with "leave no one behind" posters, were joined in the German capital by the aunt of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy whose image became a tragic symbol of the 2015 refugee crisis after his body was washed up on a Turkish beach.

"I decided to speak up and speak for those who can't speak for themselves… If I can't save my own family, then let's save the others," said Tima Kurdi, urging people to write to politicians to push for action. "We can't close our eyes and turn our backs and walk away from them. People are people, no matter where we come from," s..

Britain Contemplates Second National Lockdown as COVID-19 Surges
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Britain Contemplates Second National Lockdown as COVID-19 Surges

British Health Minister Matt Hancock said Friday the government is contemplating a second nationwide lockdown as new COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Britain.

Hancock commented in two interviews as a new lockdown went into effect in northeastern Britain.

Hancock said there has been an acceleration in the number of cases over the last couple of weeks, and the number of people hospitalized with the disease caused by the coronavirus has been doubling about every eight days.

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[contfnewc]FILE – Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock holds the daily coronavirus disease news conference at 10 Downing Street in London, May 21, 2020. (Credit: Pippa Fowles /10 Downing Street/Handout)
The health minister said a nationwide lockdown is “the last line of defense,” and the government would prefer isolated, regional lockdowns. But he said the government will do what it must “to protect lives and livelihoods.”

Hancock urged British citizens to follow the “rule of six,” with no public..

Belarus police detains hundreds in womens anti-Lukashenko protest in Minsk
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Belarus police detains hundreds in womens anti-Lukashenko protest in Minsk

Issued on: 19/09/2020 – 17:39

Belarusian riot police detained hundreds of women on Saturday as around 2,000 opposition protesters marched through the Belarusian capital Minsk demanding an end to President Alexander Lukashenko's rule.

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Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by mass street protests since Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in an August 9 presidential election that his opponents say was rigged. He denies their accusation.

Around 2,000 women took part in the "Sparkly March", wearing shiny accessories and carrying the red-and-white flags of the protest movement.

They briefly scuffled with police who then blocked their path and started picking people one by one out of the crowd, a Reuters witness said. The police then began dragging them into police vans as they stood with linked hands, swiftly detaining several hundred, an AFP journalist saw.

Only cowards beat women!

In one location, dozens of fe..

Most homeless Lesbos migrants transferred to new temporary camp after fire
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Most homeless Lesbos migrants transferred to new temporary camp after fire

Issued on: 19/09/2020 – 15:44Modified: 19/09/2020 – 15:45

Most of the asylum seekers who were left homeless after fires ripped through their camp on Lesbos island have moved to a new temporary site, Greece's migration ministry said on Saturday.

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Forced to sleep rough for days after the blazes wrecked their Moria camp last week, roughly 9,000 of the 12,700 homeless have now settled at the hastily built site of white tents.

Some have resisted entering the new camp fearing they may get stuck there, but a police operation combined with threats to discard the asylum requests of those who refuse has helped to push thousands into the facility.

The destruction of Moria, a notoriously overcrowded and dirty camp, strengthened calls from locals and humanitarian organisations for the migrants to be moved off the island.

Six Afghans have been arrested over the blazes, the first of which happened on September 8 shortly after 35 peopRead More – Source

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[con..

Madrid orders partial lockdown after surge in Covid-19 infections
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Madrid orders partial lockdown after surge in Covid-19 infections

Issued on: 19/09/2020 – 07:31

The regional government of the Spanish capital Madrid ordered a lockdown from Monday in some of the poorer areas of the city and its outskirts that are home to about 850,000 people, after a surge in coronavirus infections there.

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Regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said on Friday movement between and within areas in six districts would be restricted, but people would be able to go to work in Spain's hardest-hit region.

Residents in Madrid's poorer districts had said earlier they felt abandoned, stigmatised and feared new restrictions would deprive them of income.

After the announcement, a few hundred protestors gathered in front of the offices of Madrid's regional government to demand Ayuso quit.

"The health centres are saturated in the south of the city and they have not done anything about it," said protester Rosa Baras, 65.

Ayuso, who attracted criticism for saying this week "the way of life of immigrants" wa..

European Countries Announce New Coronavirus Restrictions
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European Countries Announce New Coronavirus Restrictions

European countries announced new coronavirus restrictions Friday, one day after the World Health Organization warned infections have started to spread again across the continent at “alarming rates.”

In Spain, which has more cases than any other European country with more than 620,000, the regional government of Madrid ordered a lockdown effective Monday in some of the more impoverished areas after a spike in infections there. While movement in the area will be restricted, people will still be allowed to go to work.

Authorities in Nice, France, have banned gatherings of more than 10 people in public spaces and cut bar operating hours, after new restrictions were imposed earlier this week in Bordeaux and Marseilles.

Britain said it is considering a new national lockdown after cases nearly doubled to 6,000 a day in the latest reporting week. British Health Minister Matt Hancock said another lockdown should be a last resort but that the government would do whatever is necessary to conta..

Denmark Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions as Virus Cases Surge
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Denmark Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions as Virus Cases Surge

Denmark’s prime minister announced Friday new COVID-19-related restrictions after a resurgence of coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

At a news conference in Copenhagen, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Denmark will lower the limit on public gatherings to 50 people, down from 100, and bars and restaurants will close at 10 p.m. She said both measures will take effect Saturday and stay in effect until October 4.

In recent weeks, Frederiksen said, Denmark has seen daily infections rise after a relaxing of lockdown measures imposed between March and May. She said 454 new coronavirus infections had been registered in Denmark over the prior 24 hours, close to an April record of 473.

The prime minister said the COVID-19 reproduction rate, which indicates how many people one infected person on average transmits the virus to, is at 1.5 in the country.

Denmark is part of a growing list of European countries re-imposing or tightening COVID-19 restrictions in the face of surging infec..